Obesity and covid-19: the role of the food industry | The BMJ

Increasing evidence indicates that obesity is an independent risk factor for severe illness and death from covid-19.123456 In the UK, a population cohort study (428 225 participants; 340 admitted to hospital with confirmed covid-19, 44% of whom were overweight and 34% obese)1 and the OpenSAFELY study using linked electronic health records (17 425 445 participants, 5683 covid-19 deaths (29% overweight, 33% obese))2 have shown a dose-response relation between excess weight and severity of covid-19. After potential confounders, including age, sex, ethnicity, and social deprivation, were adjusted for, the relative risk of critical illness from covid-19 increased by 44% for people who were overweight (relative risk 1.44, 95% confidence interval 1.08 to 1.92) and almost doubled for those with obesity (1.97, 1.46 to 2.65) in the cohort study.1

Similarly, in the OpenSAFELY study, after all other risk factors (including comorbidities) were fully adjusted for, the risk of dying from covid-19 increased with obesity severity, from a 27% higher risk in the first obesity category (body mass index (BMI) 30-34.9; hazard ratio 1.27, 1.18 to 1.36) to more than doubling of the risk in the most obese category (BMI >40; 2.27, 1.99 to 2.58).2 Smaller studies from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the US have confirmed these findings.3456
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